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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #1
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Travel & SDE's...need advice

We are doing our very first destination wedding and SDE in July. The event is 6 hours from home and I am wondering how does everyone handle travel. Do you charge enough to cover just the travel expenses, or do you also charge a fee for the fact that you are away from home?

I'm pretty nervous about the SDE, and agreed to do it only because we have a "if it doesn't get finished in time" clause. I am 99% sure we will get it done in time but I just wanted to cover our butt in case. any advice would be much appreciated as to workflow or lessons learned the hard way.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:19 AM   #2
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Can't help you with the SDE, but as for travel ...

We currently charge a mileage fee, to cover our fuel/maintenance expenses, and we charge for lodging. We don't currently charge anything for meals or anything for actual travel time, but we are seriously looking into that now. It just doesn't make sense not to if you could do a wedding at home and get paid the same but not be wasting time in the car or on the plane.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Stewart View Post
We are doing our very first destination wedding and SDE in July. The event is 6 hours from home and I am wondering how does everyone handle travel...

I'm pretty nervous about the SDE, and agreed to do it only because we have a "if it doesn't get finished in time" clause. I am 99% sure we will get it done in time but I just wanted to cover our butt in case. any advice would be much appreciated as to workflow or lessons learned the hard way.
Hi Zach,

We have traveled 1500 miles on several occasions to do SDEs. We charge more to do destination SDEs than local SDEs. Additionally we charge for travel and hotel.

What is making you nervous about this SDE? You mentioned you have a clause that covers you if it doesn't get finished in time. If the unforseen does happen do you still get paid? If not, do you still get your travel covered?

I know there are a lot of things that can go wrong when doing a SDE and a degree of nervousness is to be expected. That is why we take every step we can think of to cover ourselves if and when the unexpected does happen.

When we were new to destination SDEs we would arrive a day early to check out the venues, get a plan of action and get some establishing shots.

You need to be prepared for the unexpected. That is why we bring two laptops. We can work faster with two laptops and if one laptop dies, we still have a backup. You wouldn't shoot a wedding and bring only one camera, would you?

90% of the time we show the SDE from the camera, but a few times there was a technical or time issue that did not allow us to show it from tape. That is why we come with the appropriate cables and gear in case we have to show it from the laptop or if we have to burn a DVD and show it from the DVD.

We do not like to show a SDE from DVD because it takes longer to encode and burn a DVD. For a SD SDE in Edius, we just hit the space bar and it outputs the timeline through firewire in real time. No rendering required.

When doing an HD SDE, but the projector is not HD, we output it in SD and it is still real time. We then change the settings back to HD so they can hve the HD SDE on their final HD project. If it is going to be shown in HD, then it takes 4:1 to encode it before we can output it to tape.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:35 AM   #4
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Mark - I failed to mention that this is our very first SDE. We are doing this as a surprise for the bride (free, but good practice) so if we don't finish nothing was lost. I know its alot of work to just give away, but I wanted to test the waters and see how hard it really is. We are planning on bringing an extra laptop, and all the cables needed to handle any last minute hickups. I appreciate all the insight and I'm 100% on board with using the camera as playback.

We are there first and foremost to capture the wedding, but if we can do it we will deliver a SDE (i forgot that as well)


Travis - I agree with the travel time as well. Its no fun spending 6 hours in a car/plane unpaid...
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Old May 30th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #5
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Hi Zach,

Okay, now I understand. Pre plan where you want the key moments to happen within the song. If your NLE allows you to place markers on the timeline, that's a big help. Have a couple of alternative endings where you can end the song early if you have to. You may have it planned to last 3.5 minutes, but 1.5 minutes will still make a big impact on the viewers. Apply any filters last, only if there is time, and have plenty of cards ready after you show it.

If you can, have a few DVDs already printed on and burn a few DVDs for the Bride and Parents and pass them out before the reception ends. Encode it and post it on the web as soon as possible. Send the link to the Bride and the parents. They will send the link out to all of their friends. Oh yeah, don't forget to breathe. ;-)
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Old May 31st, 2008, 11:14 PM   #6
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OK - so i went out tonight and filmed a sweet 16 birthday party/dinner. I only taped a total of 45 minutes, and came back to edit it like a SDE (practice of course). after ingesting the footage, which i typically take the whole tape but trying to speed things up i only took the clips i thought would work out, and editing it all down to a 2 1/2 minute clip (i already had the intro title and music all picked out and edited). I started at 8:30pm and was finised by 10:15pm. This is with CC and rendered completely back to tape. Without CC I would have been done by 9:35pm, but the rendering process took 20 minutes for the CC filters.

Does this workflow and time span sound typical or is there something I could do to speed things up. The laptop is getting another Gig of memory tomorrow to help with the render times, but all in all it performed flawlessly.

I'm guessing most guys are using a harddrive based recorder instead of pulling footage from a tape?

I'm figuring a wedding SDE would take approx. 2 hours to completely finish with render time included. Does that sound about right for a SDE time frame?


thanks for all the help, any advice is well received.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 11:25 PM   #7
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Hi Zach,

We will actually speaking at reframe next year ('09) and one of my main topics will be centered on how to get destination weddings, as well as practical tips for shooting and preparing for them. It is amazing how many little things you can pick up and share about these types of weddings.

A couple quick suggestions;
-really work on your workflow before this wedding, make sure you know what is happening when and what you will be doing when
-don't overlook a slow 5-10 min at any point, that is always an excellent time to get some cutting done
-optimize as much time for one videographer coverage as possible (without affecting the final product too much) as this will then give you even more edit time

We charge an extra fee for what we call a premium SDE, which includes a 3rd videographer for the day. We sell this as a package that lets the SDE be better but also ensures that the final film isn't adversely affected by the SDE. It has gone over very well for us so far.

All the best,

Patrick
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 09:15 AM   #8
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Patrick - thanks a ton for the help. We hope to attend re:frame next year and if so then we definitely won't miss the presentation. How long do you typically have to edit the SDE at the reception? I'm thinking it will take approx. 2 hours to be completely done from start to finish.
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Old July 8th, 2008, 09:38 AM   #9
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Well, we have officially bowed out of the SDE race...we did complete a practice SDE two weeks ago, but it wasn't up to par what I had hoped for.

The bride was running late throughout the day and caused us to miss a few detail shots that we usually like to get (shoes, dress, rings, etc...fun shots). It wasn't easy trying to have my wife editing while I was shooting everything. But, we did pull it off and get it done. So we went into the destination wedding with a few hard learned lessons. We knew that one of us would have to be basically editing all day while the other was shooting. The destination wedding SDE didn't happen because we were both split up for the bulk of the day until the reception came and it didn't leave us enough time to capture/edit/finalize the SDE. It was a bummer but maybe sometime down the line we can try it again when we have a 3rd person dedicated to it, and Firestore drives or such and not trying to capture from a tape (or multiple tapes for that matter).

I have to give "mad props" to those that can somehow pull this off. It requires nerves of steel and a miracle from above. With a 3rd person that is dedicated solely to the SDE it could be done, and that is the only way i think we could ever try to tackle this again.
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